Thumbs up: Horsey loved his return to type in Saudi

England’s David Horsey galloped into an early lead on the European Tour’s star-studded Saudi International after taking pictures a surprising nine-under par 61.

On a day of extraordinarily low scoring at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, Horsey’s spectacular whole was nonetheless solely ok for a one-shot lead, with Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher racing spherical in 62.

Horsey, at present ranked 282nd on the earth, missed the reduce in his first two occasions of 2021, however he left that type behind after carding 9 birdies – seven of which got here in a spectacular inward 28.

“I’m pretty shocked,” was Horsey’s preliminary response after coming off the course. “I’ve been playing rubbish the last couple weeks. I had a conversation with a pal back home last night and he suggested something that I work on away from the tournament. Knowing me, I thought, well, can’t get any worse, so I may as well try it and here we are. It’s really just how my body is moving – quite sort of technical really. It’s nice to have a feel you can wake up and pick up straight away. I didn’t really feel like I missed many shots. I holed a couple of lengthy putts as well, and it all adds up to a 61.”

Gallacher has additionally endured troublesome interval – he completed 173rd on the cash checklist in 2020 – however is hoping right this moment’s spherical, which embody 5 birdies within the final six holes, will mark a turnaround in his fortunes.

“It’s been good to just draw a line in the sand for 2020,” he mentioned. “With everything that happened: the pandemic, my dad, losing friends, it was just one of those terrible years. I couldn’t wait for 2021 to come really and get back to a bit of normal – back playing and back enjoying it. I worked hard in the winter in the gym and on my practice net in the house, and came out early and showed a bit of form, so I’m looking forward to the rest of the season now.”

Further down the leaderboard, Bernd Wiesberger is three off the tempo in third after a blemish-free 64, whereas Bryson DeChambeau, one in every of bookies favorite, sits within the massive group on 5 beneath after benefiting from the calmer scoring situations for the morning teams. World no.1 Dustin Johnson is on three beneath alongside Lee Westwood and Tyrrell Hatton, whereas Phil Mickelson, Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose all posted opening 68s.